DepEd, partners intensify school opening preparations
The Department of Education, together with the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Inter-Agency Task Force, will hold this year’s OBE Command Conference on May 25 to ensure the smooth opening of classes on June 4.
Government agencies and some concessionaires comprise the organization of the Inter-Agency Task Force, with DepEd serving as the lead agency. These include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires – Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI), Department of National Defense (DND), Philippine Information Agency, and Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
“We have intensified our preparations for the school opening, and the assistance provided by our partner agencies is critical to the success of the Oplan Balik Eskwela,” DepEd Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said.
DPWH is tasked to supervise the completion of classrooms being constructed and to conduct the clearing of road obstructions. DTI, on the other hand, is in-charge of monitoring the price stability of school supplies. They have also initiated a Diskwento Caravan nationwide offering school supplies at discounted prices.
To ensure that students and school personnel are given proper information on health issues, the DOH will take charge of the dissemination of health guidelines in schools. Safe and accessible public transportation shall be managed by the DOTC.
Participation of local government units is also of primary importance in the project’s implementation. The DILG will ensure the involvement of the local government and barangays in school opening preparations.
MMDA will control the flow of vehicles as well as flood control to ensure smooth and safe traffic within Metro Manila.
The PNP, Meralco, PAGASA, Maynilad, MWSS, and Manila Water Company are also part of the inter-agency effort.
PNP will take charge of crime prevention especially during the opening of classes; Manila Water and MWSS will ensure that there will be enough water supply in schools; Meralco promises no power interruption and assistance in rewiring of public schools while PAGASA guarantees constant weather updates and advanced forecasts.
As per Executive Order No. 66, series of 2012, PAGASA will also be in-charge of providing information on storm signals, which will be the basis for the suspension of classes. Depending on the storm signal, PAGASA may prescribe suspension of classes for affected grade or year levels. If there is no storm signal, suspension will be made by respective local government units.
Prior to the upcoming command conference, DepEd and the OBE partners conducted the Inter-Agency Convergence Meeting to consolidate efforts initiated by each agency for the school opening and to ensure that each measure undertaken by the convergence partners will be maintained throughout the school year. The meeting was presided by DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Lorenzo Mateo.
DepEd will formally set-up the OBE Information and Action Center (IAC) from May 28 to June 8 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan of the DepEd Central Office in Pasig to provide quick information and response to public complaints and queries regarding the opening of classes.
Oplan Balik Eskwela is the annual campaign for school opening preparation initiated by the Department of Education. OBE seeks to address problems commonly encountered during school opening and aims to ensure that students are properly enrolled and are able to attend school on the first day of classes in June.